ALL ENGLAND 2007 – The heat is on Birmingham

The third leg of the Super Series, the mythical All England Championship is ready to kick off in Birmingham, where all athletes have already gathered. Let’s take a look at […]

ImageThe third leg of the Super Series, the mythical Championship is ready to kick off in Birmingham, where all athletes have already gathered. Let’s take a look at the draw, less than 24 hours before it all starts…

By Yanyan Emily Ding and Tarek Hafi, Badzine Correspondents. Photos : Badmintonphoto (archives)

The draw of the 24th Yonex All England Championships was released on February 20th. It is the third event of the Badminton World Federation’s new Super Series after Malaysia and Korea Opens. The tournament will be held at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham from March 6th to 11th.

Men’s singles :

In the men’s singles event, the Hashim brothers from Malaysia kick off with two very tough matches. Roslin Hashim (photo) has to play against Lin Dan, while Hafiz Hashim is to meet Olympic and 2005 world champion Taufik Hidayat. Yet the latest news from Antara News Agency hinted that Taufik was not in Birmingham as he had refused to play after a quarrel with his national association – an unexpected decision as the Indonesian had vowed to win the only top tournament he is missing.

ImagePeter Gade opens the tournament against Dicky Palyama from Holland and awaits a quarterfinal against Bao Chunlai, while Gade’s Danish team mate Kenneth Jonassen is expected to meet the 2nd seeded Chen Jin from China in another quarterfinal.
If Wong Choong Hann from Malaysia succeeds in making it through the qualifying round, he will face his countryman Lee Tsuen Seng from Kuala Lumpur Racket Club, and the winner of their match meets Lin Dan in second round.
Lee Chong Wei, also from Malaysia, will meet Chetan Anand from India in the first round, and is expected to play an interesting quarterfinal against either Chen Yu from China or Boonsak Ponsana from Thailand.

Men’s doubles :

The men’s doubles draw could be the toughest since the Olympic Games in Athens, with many high-level clashes in the first and second round. The local hopes, the silver medallists in the last world championships Robert Blair and Anthony Clark, won’t have an easy task as they will have to beat two-time All England runners-up Lee Wan Wah and Choong Tan Fook with a possible quarter final against the Danish veterans and 2nd seeded Eriksen and Lundgaard.

The surprisingly seeded pair from Malaysia, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, may have the same road as Camilla Martin, when she won the trophy in 2002 after having to beat 4 Chinese in a row. But this time the Malaysian pair won’t have to fight against China but Indonesia, as they have three Indonesian pairs in their road to only the semi-final. The top seeded Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng (pictured above)will have to go through a Japanese pair in the first round and are likely to meet the Korean pair who were runners-up in the last Super Series tournament, Lee/Hwang, in quarter-finals, but the latter will have to beware of the upcoming Indonesian pair Riyadi/Gunawan, runners-up in the last Dutch Open and Copenhagen Masters. The final before the final appears to be the first round clash between Danish and former world champions Paaske/Rasmussen against the world number three, the Indonesian pair Kido/Setiawan as they are both contenders for the crown in Birmingham.

ImageWomen’s singles

The Chinese obviously dominate the ladies’ event as all 8 seeded players are Chinese-born, but only 6 representing China. Judith Meulendijks (picture) will have to meet no. 1 seeded Xie Xingfang in All England’s first round, while Yao Jie, the only other Dutch player in the main draw, will play Jiang Yanjiao.
Malaysia has only two players in the main draw as well – Wong Mew Choo and Julia Wong. Mew Choo’s first match against Lu Lan will be very interesting to follow.
Malaysia Open winner Zhu Lin should meet Xu Huaiwen from Germany in the quarterfinal, while Zhang Ning in her first match will take on Sara Persson from Sweden.

Women’s doubles :

There will certainly be an all Chinese affairs in the women’s doubles as Gao Ling and Huang Sui are likely to meet their compatriots Zhang Jiewen and Yang Wei in final of this event. But both pairs will have a tough road until the final as the second seed and Olympic champions Zhang and Yang will have on their way Du Jing and Yu Yang in quarterfinals, with a possible semi final against the Taiwanese pair Chien and Cheng. But the latter will have to go through the Danish pair Rytter Juhl/Frier Kristiansen in the first round – escaping the Japanese pair Kumiko/Shiota who have withdrawn – and the Malaysian pair Wong/Chin in the quarter final in order to reach the semi-final.
On the other half of the draw, the world champion Gao Ling and Huang Sui, going for their impressive 7th straight title in the All England, are likely to meet their friends and training partners Wei Yili and Zhang Yawen in semi-final.
The local hopes Gail Emms and Donna Kellog will meet two Indonesian pairs in a row, the Dutch open winners Nursugianti/Mundiasti and the Malaysia open finalists Vita Marissa and Greysia Polii, with a possible end of the road in the quarterfinal against the Chinese Zhang/Wei.

Mixed doubles :

Top seeded 2005 world champions Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir from Indonesia will face the Korea’s Lee Jae Jin/Lee Hyo Yung or Singapore’s Hendri Kurniawan Saputra/Li Yujia in an interesting quarterfinal.
Nathan Robertson/Gail Emms, world and Commonwealth champions, seeded sixth, are set to meet the new and dangerous Chinese combination of Zheng Bo/Gao Ling as early as the quarterfinals. Gao Ling, with her previous partner Zhang Jun, were two-time Olympic gold medallists and winners of the All England in 2001,  2003, and 2006.
7th seeded Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg will make their way to the quarterfinals, where they have to fight against Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter-Juhl from Denmark. Another Danish pair of Jens Eriksen/Helle Nielsen kicks off the tournament by facing Indonesia’s Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa. Joachim Fischer-Nielsen/Britta Andersen who are the last Danish mixed pair in the main draw, need to fight hard against 2nd seeded Xie Zhongbo/Zhang Yawen from China in the first round.
The main round begins Wednesday, March 7th, and the day before a number of players need to play qualifying rounds.

Schedule:

06/03/2007: From 12.00 noon All Qualifying rounds
07/03/2007: From 11.00 a.m. All First Round Matches
08/03/2007: From 11.00 a.m. All Second Round Matches
09/03/2007: From 5.00 p.m. All Quarter Final Matches
10/03/2007: From 12.30 p.m. All Semi-Final Matches
11/03/2007: From 12.30 p.m. All Final Matches

Badzine International will be at Birmingham NIA! Follow all the Yonex All England action live on www.badzine.info from March 6th to 11th.

Official website of the Yonex All England Championship 2007: http://www.internationalbadminton.org//england/index.htm

All England 2006 Winners:

Men’s Singles: Lin Dan
Men’s Doubles: Jens Eriksen/Martin Lundgaard Hansen
Women’s Singles: Xie Xingfang
Women’s Doubles: Gao Ling/Huang Sui
Mixed Doubles: Zhang Jun/Gao Ling

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About Tarek Hafi